Agiotfest ’10

 

 

After months of uncertainty and preparation, Agiotfest 10 suddenly happened. Joe Brown and his entourage and separately, Laura Zakian, flew in from the U.K. Kuriri came over by ferry from Igoumenitsa, 4 Square flew in from a Prague gig. One Drop Forward slid in almost unnoticed. Jemma Bartlett and newcomers the Shires for their maiden outing also flew in from the UK, as did Laura Doss from Germany.

 Local groups Omega 5 and The Good Old Boys and songstress Sonia Grammatikos were our island representatives. All was set.

The Friday could not have got off to a worse start. The state-of-the-art M7 mixing desk brought over with the Joe Brown Group did not like the journey or the Corfu conditions, or maybe it was a duff machine. Anyway, it did not work from the start. So Digital had to give way to Analogue, and Bill worked his magic on rearranging the various acts with available channels to produce a Saturday show. But first Friday had to be sorted. Sound-checks were severely delayed following the M7 glitch and were still going on at opening hours. The crowd started to drift into the New Cactus Hilton, pleasing in an odd way to think that the hallowed spot had never before seen such activity.

What a pleasant place this is. Chairs were laid in neat rows but a grassy olive knoll allowed people to relax with their picnics, as an alternative to the good-value simple fayre offered next to Villa Theodora.

 There were lots of children coming in, no charge helped many parents with their decision as to whether to come or not. A few stalls were in the approach lane, a modest first try to what we hope will become a thriving opportunity.

 Just when things seemed as if they could get no worse, they did. The village lost one of its three phases of electricity power. Lights along the Agiotfest trail were extinguished, a communal groan escaped the lips of the audience. Power was redirected to the stage area and two hours behind schedule the show started.

Luckily, there had been not too many people up to that point, so the steady stream that followed were blissfully unaware of the erstwhile hiccups.

During this mayhem it was the hard luck to be on stage for the Shires, the Good Old Boys and Laura Doss. But they coped very well with this setback. Steve Dell, especially, commended the professional ethic of young girls Alice and Aliyah, who sang on unperturbed as the technology around them sputtered and flickered.

Omega5 can always be relied on to get things going. Again, they did not disappoint. The Fest was off! No Paul Stenton this year, but Adonis showed his skill was no less, if differently-styled.

Steve doubled as compere, when not rocking out his songs. He was in for a long two days with a round-trip to Acharavi sandwiched between.

They will not be unknown now. It is not without good reason they are so highly-regarded across the Balkans. Their musical ability and unorthodox presentation were a perfect match.  I can give no better tribute to them than that given by our own musical Dr.Mann. ‘Kuriri were superb, they really know how to play their instruments’, this rare recognition from a musician who recognizes little post – 1890 worth a mention. Well done Kuriri and well done Lionel.

The night ended with a group much better known in these parts; One Drop Forward. They delivered as they always do, a brilliant presentation of reggae with people dancing and swaying to their rhythms on the improvised ‘dance floor’ before the stage.

Thus ended the Friday night, saved from possible disaster by some quite wonderful sounds.

The Minstrel slept on the stage overnight and was bitten to death by mosquitoes, but ably encouraged by Andy (the four-legged one) who barked at any stray sounds. Bravo

Andy, we could not have afforded to have any of this gear nicked! In the dawn the other non-human caretaker of the New Cactus Hilton, Ethel the chicken-who slept under the stage, sometimes during the performance- strutted her stuff among the olives, seemingly unphased by the goings-on.

 Frightened into super-action by the power failings of Friday, the Saturday morning saw activity beginning a little past eight in the morning. By nine o’clock Joe Brown was doing his sound-check and the other acts followed, almost by the time-table. Things were looking hopeful. The catering side was also better-shaped and prepared for the evening.

And so it opened, and on this night there were to be no repetitions of the early Friday failings. The show started at 6.45 pm, only fifteen minutes behind schedule. The first act on was Laura Zakian, with her musically talented trio. Great stuff from Laura. Her act is not a typical turn for hereabouts and thereby the reaction was uncertain, which is why it had been decided not to have the set too long. Now we wish we had, for she was well-received by the growing audience.

Sonia Grammatikos is a local lady with huge talent, singing soulful ballads with her own guitar accompaniment. She had not played on a stage for nine years. We tempted her from retirement and what a gutsy performance she gave us. Short, but sweet.

The Good Old Boys featuring Jemma were back for a second showing; they have a growing fan-base in Corfu. This time they did not have to compete with the technology.

Tommy Cooper kept appearing on stage. Just like that.

4Square. I don’t really know what to say. I will leave it to better music critics than I to write here and elsewhere on later dates. Suffice it to say they probably even outshone the illustrious top-of-the bill, in terms of audience appreciation. Four very likeable young people from Rochdale. Gracie would be ‘prideful’.

John Taylor, manager for Joe and his band was impressed, and that in itself is impressive. Towards the end of their act Ocay had arranged for a glittering firework display over their stage, maybe a tad loud…..sorry 4S.

Then came Joe Brown. I had to sit down to this one. I could hardly believe this was happening at last. Joe Brown in Agios Ioannis. On stage. And delivering brilliantly, superbly backed by his son Pete and the rest of the band.

What an exponent of so many instruments, a true musician’s musician. It was all worth the months of finger-biting. Thank you Joe for an unforgettable debut at the New Cactus Hilton.

 When the show ended the Minstrel was grandly entertained on the terrace of Henk’s apartments by Kuriri and their friends, as was Brenda of ice-cream fame. I felt humble in their humble presence. They were such a refreshing reminder of long-gone days of courtesy and manners, often lost in the West of today.

And now to the thanks:

It is hard to know exactly where to start, so I’ll just start.

Firstly, all the musicians themselves, without whom this page would not exist.

John Taylor for his industry and professionalism.

The technicians; Bill Vrioni is a genius in my opinion. He and his team saved and made the event.

All who worked on the catering side, including Mike Mahon, Rich and Karen Quilter, Sophia, Mirna- and her sister, Anna the cleaner. Paul and Luke, Neil, Ronah and Paul for his haulage work.

Brenda and Jimmy and Stormin’ Norman for the chairs.

Steve for his great compere work, ably interpreted by Kristina from Energy Radio.

The Security provided by Ioannis Fagoginis.

Doug on tickets with Jan, Helgy too.

Agron,Jimmy and Eli, great workers…often going unnoticed in the throng, but responsible for the hard work which any enterprise such as this needs.

Unflappable Mitsos the electrician.

Peter McGovern, for his vizma and energy. Belatedly, Kostas his brother, who worked the Saturday so well.

Paul and Sally, support and kindness as residents in the N.C.H.

Our distributors, supporters and advisors; Richard Wilson from Arcadia, Paul and Jan Scotter, Chas Clifton, Emma Wood, Diane Kondou, Janet from James Villas, Vickie Moss, Micky Clark, The Navigators, Boatman’s World, Alex from Re-Max.

Jon from True-type Solutions, always on-the-ball with our website.

Prokopis for his haulage.

Natasha from Novatech.

Spyros Hytiris; a constant source of friendship and encouragement and Hermes of our dream presented to the Greek nation.

Hilary Paipeti for her love of Agiotfest and editorial contributions.

Andy D’Cruz-what a star

Jackie Dickinson; lifelong friend and schmoozer par excellence.

Maureen and Kim.

The Donkey Sanctuary and Ark.

Our sponsors:

OCAY Property Services

Truetype Web Solutions

The Corfiot

The British Corner shop

The Corfu Club

Asian Spa

Novatech

Spear Travels

X-Pat Athens

Daylong

Spiros and Vasilis Restaurant

Hotel Erikousa

Green Island

Energy Radio

Aqualand

Profi

Segway

Hotel Telesilla

Star FM 88.8

Corfu Palace Hotel

Boileau Bistro

Marida Hotel

Evenos

Studio 1

New Radio

Corfu Press

Corfu Airport and the Port Authority, Gouvia Marina for allowing our posters.

Kerry the cameraman and John and Dimos from Corfu Press, adding professionalism and exposure to our ‘baby’

All our many well-wishers, including the ones who could not make this year. All the fans who did make it, especially from abroad.

Our village. Not a single complaint, when you imagine how the status quo is bombed for our weekend, that in itself is testimony to the tolerance and hospitality of all here. Giorgos and Varna Halikia and their families, who could not attend, as they had 09, for the sadness and respect they have for the recent passing of  their dear Vallya. Her spirit, I am sure, haunts the New Cactus Hilton, where she tended her flock for decades. She was smiling on us I know for sure.

If, in my haste to meet this deadline, I have missed anybody out, please forgive me.

Four  thanks above all others;

Jan and Ken Harrop who brilliantly handled the North at their own expense.

A special mention for Jan, who has put up with my crazy brain during months of planning.

Lucy Steele. I can only describe Lucy’s contribution and work-ethic as an example to all. Thank you Lucy.

To my dear wife Lula, who suffers my insanity for trying to bring this dream into a reality for our local community and Island.

 

To all of you… thank you!!!

 

 

Report

After months of uncertainty and preparation, Agiotfest 10 suddenly happened. Joe Brown and his entourage and separately, Laura Zakian, flew in from the U.K. Kuriri came over by ferry from Igoumenitsa, 4 Square flew in from a Prague gig. One Drop Forward slid in almost unnoticed. Jemma Bartlett and newcomers the Shires for their maiden outing also flew in from the UK, as did Laura Doss from Germany. Local groups Omega 5 and The Good Old Boys and songstress Sonia Grammatikos were our island representatives. All was set.

The Friday could not have got off to a worse start. The state-of-the-art M7 mixing desk brought over with the Joe Brown Group did not like the journey or the Corfu conditions, or maybe it was a duff machine. Anyway, it did not work from the start. So Digital had to give way to Analogue, and Bill worked his magic on rearranging the various acts with available channels to produce a Saturday show. But first Friday had to be sorted. Sound-checks were severely delayed following the M7 glitch and were still going on at opening hours. The crowd started to drift into the New Cactus Hilton, pleasing in an odd way to think that the hallowed spot had never before seen such activity. What a pleasant place this is. Chairs were laid in neat rows but a grassy olive knoll allowed people to relax with their picnics, as an alternative to the good-value simple fayre offered next to Villa Theodora. There were lots of children coming in, no charge helped many parents with their decision as to whether to come or not. A few stalls were in the approach lane, a modest first try to what we hope will become a thriving opportunity.

Just when things seemed as if they could get no worse, they did. The village lost one of its three phases of electricity power. Lights along the Agiotfest trail were extinguished, a communal groan escaped the lips of the audience. Power was redirected to the stage area and two hours behind schedule the show started. Luckily, there had been not too many people up to that point, so the steady stream that followed were blissfully unaware of the erstwhile hiccups. During this mayhem it was the hard luck to be on stage for the Shires, the Good Old Boys and Laura Doss. But they coped very well with this setback. Steve Dell, especially, commended the professional ethic of young girls Alice and Aliyah, who sang on unperturbed as the technology around them sputtered and flickered. Omega5 can always be relied on to get things going. Again, they did not disappoint. The Fest was off! No Paul Stenton this year, but Adonis showed his skill was no less, if differently-styled. Steve doubled as compere, when not rocking out his songs. He was in for a long two days with a roundtrip to Acharavi sandwiched between.

Kuriri from Serbia were unknown to Corfu before this night. “Kuriri from Serbia” They will not be unknown now. It is not without good reason they are so highly-regarded across the Balkans. Their musical ability and unorthodox presentation were a perfect match. I can give no better tribute to them than that given by our own musical Dr.Mann. ‘Kuriri were superb, they really know how to play their instruments’, this rare recognition from a musician who recognizes little post – 1890 worth a mention. Well done Kuriri and well done Lionel. The night ended with a group much better known in these parts; One Drop Forward. They delivered as they always do, a brilliant presentation of reggae with people dancing and swaying to their rhythms on the improvised ‘dance floor’ before the stage. Thus ended the Friday night, saved from possible disaster by some quite wonderful sounds.

The Minstrel slept on the stage overnight and was bitten to death by mosquitoes, but ably encouraged by Andy (the four-legged one) who barked at any stray sounds. Bravo Andy, we could not have afforded to have any of this gear nicked! In the dawn the other non-human caretaker of the New Cactus Hilton, Ethel the chicken-who slept under the stage, sometimes during the performance- strutted her stuff among the olives, seemingly unphased by the goings-on.

Frightened into super-action by the power failings of Friday, the Saturday morning saw activity beginning a little past eight in the morning. By nine o’clock Joe Brown was doing his sound-check and the other acts followed, almost by the time-table. Things were looking hopeful. The catering side was also better-shaped and prepared for the evening. And so it opened, and on this night there were to be no repetitions of the early Friday failings. The show started at 6.45 pm, only fifteen minutes behind schedule. The first act on was Laura Zakian, with her musically talented trio. Great stuff from Laura. Her act is not a typical turn for hereabouts and thereby the reaction was uncertain, which is why it had been decided not to have the set too long. Now we wish we had, for she was well-received by the growing audience. Sonia Grammatikos is a local lady with huge talent, singing soulful ballads with her own guitar accompaniment. She had not played on a stage for nine years. We tempted her from retirement and what a gutsy performance she gave us. Short, but sweet. The Good Old Boys featuring Jemma were back for a second showing; they have a growing fanbase in Corfu. This time they did not have to compete with the technology. Tommy Cooper kept appearing on stage. Just like that.

4Square. I don’t really know what to say. I will leave it to better music critics than I to write here and elsewhere on later dates. Suffice it to say they probably even outshone the illustrious top-of-the bill, in terms of audience appreciation. Four very likeable young people from Rochdale. Gracie would be ‘prideful’. John Taylor, manager for Joe and his band was impressed, and that in itself is impressive. Towards the end of their act Ocay had arranged for a glittering firework display over their stage, maybe a tad loud…..sorry 4S. Then came Joe Brown. I had to sit down to this one. I could hardly believe this was happening at last. Joe Brown in Agios Ioannis. On stage. And delivering brilliantly, superbly backed by his son Pete and the rest of the band. What an exponent of so many instruments, a true musician’s musician. It was all worth the months of finger-biting. Thank you Joe for an unforgettable debut at the New Cactus Hilton.